Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 1, Episode 7

Breakdown (13 Nov. 1955)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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William Callew is involved in a bad traffic accident on a rural road, that leaves him so paralyzed he appears lifeless, and when help arrives they think he's really dead.



(teleplay) (as Francis Cockrell) , (teleplay), 1 more credit »
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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
William Callew
Himself - Host
Ed Johnson
Forrest Stanley ...
Harry Shannon ...
Dr. Harner
James Edwards ...
Marvin Press ...
Murray Alper ...
Mike Ragan ...
Escaped Convict
Jimmy Weldon ...
Guard (as Jim Weldon)
Richard Newton ...
Ambulance Driver
Road Worker
Harry Landers ...
Elzie Emanuel ...
Black Escaped Convict


Mr. Callew, a demanding businessman, is resting by the beach when he receives a telephone call from a recently discharged employee. The man is in tears, but the unyielding Callew shows no sympathy, and hangs up on him. Later, when Callew starts to drive home, his car runs off the road at a construction site. When he comes to, Callew is paralyzed. Several persons come by, but he is unable to communicate with them, so they think he is dead. Fully aware of his predicament, he becomes increasingly terrified. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

13 November 1955 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Edward W. Williams won the 1956 Primetime Emmy for Best Editing of a Television Film for this episode. See more »


[introduction - Hitchcock is reading a book when he notices the viewer]
Alfred Hitchcock: Oh. Good evening. I've been reading a mystery story. I find them very relaxing. They take my mind off my work. These little books are quite nice. Of course, they can never replace hardcover books. They're just as good for reading, but they make very poor doorstops. Tonight's story by Louis Pollock is one that appeared in this collection. I think you will find it properly terrifying, but like the other plays of our series, it...
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Referenced in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Even ruthless businessmen break down...
10 September 2014 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

In one of the first episodes of the "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" TV series, we once again get to see - and feel - all of his irony and mastery at keeping us in an almost painful state of suspense for thirty (in this case LONG) minutes - but he also gives us a VERY unusual lesson in morals; and in the most unusual way, too...

The beginning of the whole story has got a special meaning: a heartless businessman on holiday has just given one of his oldest employees the sack without any warning, and the desperate man calls him on the phone, begging him and crying - and yet, all he does is make fun of his 'childish' behavior, remarking that there was no need for him to cry like a baby... BUT a little while later, he finds himself in a VERY desperate situation as well: after an accident, he's stuck behind the wheel of his luxury limousine, looking like he was dead - and he can't move, he can't talk, he can't give a sign of life; and so they take him to the morgue...

This has DEFINITELY got a touch of Edgar Allan Poe, and it's REALLY chilling to 'live' those dreadful hours (even 'crammed' into a 30-minute TV episode); but it also contains a PRETTY clear social and moral lesson... Joseph Cotten is simply EXCELLENT in a quite unusual role; and Hitch's directing is, to say the least, more breathtaking than in many of his most famous movies!

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